Spanish Mackerel Are Also
Known As Blue Mackerel And King Mackerel.
I will talk about different ways of catching Spanish Mackerel, as in,
Trolling Hard body lures / Halco / x-raps.
Casting Stick baits.
Jigging lures/metal slugs.
Trolling dead Gar on surface and downrigger
Trolling live yakkas / slimies on surface / poor man's rig and downrigger
Best time to chase them.
Chasing Spanish Mackerel.
Chasing Spanish Mackerel can be very easy to quite difficult, depending on how you want to chase them, so I will start
off with what I consider the easiest way to catch them and that is to troll lures. When it is Mackerel time in your neck of the woods
you will find most people trolling shallow to deep diving lures around the shallow reefs off your area.
To start off your Spanish Mackerel season you will need at least two trolling outfits and the most common rod and reel
outfit is a Shimano TLD 20 or 25 reels spooled with 10 or 15 kg mono and the rod to match is a 10 to 15 kg Shimano Backbone
roller tip rod. This is a good easy to use a mid-range outfit that won't break the bank. Next, we will need some good lures with
a short 60 lb wire trace on them I personally run Halco and X-Raps for mackerel mixed colors( Ask your local tackle shop for the
best Mackerel lures for your area). The wire should be 60 lb single strand wire which is very easy to rig with a haywire twist.
Make sure you buy lures that dive different depths this is very important!
80 lb trace on your rod and crimp on a good quality snap swivel. Next is to tie a 1-foot long wire trace to your lure using a
haywire twist with a loop on the other end to connect to your snap swivel. If this seems confusing just ask your local tackle store
to show you how to do this. Don't be shy! I work for Tackle World and we are always happy to show people how to rig for different species.
Ok, when we finally hit the fishing grounds I run four rods so I run my deepest lures in close, other words the X-Rap 30 an 8-meter diver.
This lures go in the water first and is the closest to the boat (15 meters out) next I put out an X-Rap 20 a 5-meter diver (25 meters out) and then
a Halco 2 meter (35 meters out) and lucky last is a Halco 1 meter diver (45 meters out). All reels should have drags set properly and be set in strike.
Now I start trolling around my reefs at 6 knots looking for bait if you can not find any bait just troll around the reefs. The best time to chase Mackerel
is early morning and late afternoon and there is no set time on how long you should troll either until you get sick of driving around in circles or get
your bag limit.
Jigging Metals For Spanish Mackerel.
I like this technique as it is not as boring as driving around in circles, for this to work you will need a high speed 4000 to 6000 sized spin reel on a nice 10 kg spin stick spooled with 10 or 15 kg braid. You will also need 60 to 100-gram metal lures with a short wire trace on the end, now we need to find a good sized bait school. Once I locate a bait school I work out my drift so I drift right over the school and this is the easy part! Just drop the metal slug (Raider lure) to the bottom and start winding like a mad man!!! That's it! This is one of the easiest ways to catch Spanish Mackerel. This method usually works when trolling lures do not.
Trolling Dead Baits.
Trolling Dead baits (Garfish) is a very good way to catch Mackerel but can be a little tricky if you are new to it so I will just give you a quick rundown on how I do it.
I like to make my own rigs but you can buy them from most tackle shops, Watch my video on how to make a Mackerel rig. When using dead baits you have to be careful when rigging them because if they are not rigged right they will spin in the water and nothing will eat a bait that is spinning, if you have rigged the bait properly it will look like its swimming. When trolling baits the boat should be just in gear THAT'S IT! no faster or the baits will not work! And with these baits, I usually run four with two running off the downrigger at 10 meters apart and the other two swimming just under the surface of the rigger at 20 and 30 meters out. It's very interesting when all four go and there are only two anglers onboard!
Trolling Live Baits.
This is similar to trolling dead baits except the rig needs to be very different, with this rig I use a 60 lb multi-strand wire, a small black swivel, 1/0 short shank (NOT OFFSET) hook and a treble. I use this rig when I am slow trolling Yakkas or Slimies and it is very easy to set up, first you put the 1/0 through the nose of the livie and then pin the treble on his underside as close to the tail as possible. You will need to do this because Spanish Mackerel will hit the tail first and most fish are caught on that treble at the tail end. This time I only run two on the downrigger 10 meters apart and the boat is just in gear again (very slow).
If you have not got a downrigger you can use a method called the poor mans downrigger which works very well and which I spent many years using.
Casting Stick Baits.
Casting stick baits (surface lures) for Spanish Mackerel is a lot of fun and, this time you will need a good 10 to 15 kg 7-foot spin rod and a good quilty 6000 spin reel spooled with 300 yards of 10 to 15 kg braid and of course stick baits 6 to 8 inch. Once again you will need to put a short single strand wire on the lure with a haywire twist. For this method to work you usually need a bait school on the surface or you are marking fish on your sounder close to the surface. If you are marking fish just stop the boat and start casting that area and if you are casting at a bait school go up current/wind and drift back towards the bait casting into the bait school and working your lure back out of the bait. Your lure usually gets hit when it leaves the school as it looks like an easy target all by its self.
The best time to chase Spanish Mackerel is early morning (sunrise to about 9 am) and late afternoon ( 3 pm until dark). If you are planning on fishing the middle of the day a downrigger will help as the Mackerel go deep and with a downrigger, you can put the baits right in front of their noses and tease them into a late bite.
I hope this helps Good Luck.